‘DomiNations’ Gaining Ground On Mobile

Sometimes a hit mobile game needs a little time to grow in stature — but once it does, it can become a bonafide hit. That’s certainly the case with Big Huge Games’ real-time strategy game DomiNations, which has managed to work its way up the Western mobile charts.

Pocket Gamer recently broke down the success of the game, a strategy game built by team members who previously worked on such hits as Rise of Nations and Civilization II — experience that has certainly paid off. Published through the Nexon M. mobile publishing arm, the game has managed to perform remarkably well, despite the fact that it hasn’t launched in overseas markets just yet, like China or Japan.

Using a fair monetization system (depending on what players want from the “build a base and destroy others” gameplay set-up), it has managed to work its way into the top 50 top grossing apps for the iPhone. In addition, it’s ranking very well on the iPad in both the U.S. and U.K. markets — and could gross even more money over the long-term, if the numbers are any indication.

The chart above shows the success of the iPad game thus far, and while Australian numbers look a little rocky compared to the other markets, it’s still showing enough consistency that it could catch back up in the long-term.

Meanwhile, the iPhone version shows much more consistency with the three markets, with the U.K. only seeing a slight dip for a day before measuring out again.

To see how close some markets can really be, check out the chart above, which shows how DomiNations is performing in France and Germany. As you can see, the numbers are far closer than in previous markets, showing that the game has held steady over the course of April, with no lapses to speak of.

The strength of DomiNations in the short time since it’s been released indicates just what kind of staying power certain mobile games have, even if they require a little consistency before they find their place on the charts. The game has been a great success for the team thus far, and with Nexon more than likely planning a release to more overseas markets, its rise to power isn’t going to stop soon.

Players interested in DomiNations can download it here.

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NewFronts Kicks Off With Video Ads Push

NewFronts 2015 is under way, with a number of companies showing off their latest projects in social media in the hopes of attracting advertising dollars through a number of formats, including a push for video ads.

There are a surprising number of companies involved, including Buzzfeed, Yahoo, YouTube and Maker, all looking to push its original content while, at the same time, presenting viable formats in which advertising can be more effective than it currently is on modern television.

Surprisingly enough, The New York Times kicked off its own presentation at NewFronts, where, according to the Washington Post, it revealed a forthcoming documentary series focusing on women in the Arab Spring, as well as animated features that take a closer look at the financial industry. In addition, it also intends to dabble in virtual-reality technology.

“Times Video continues to be one of the most creative expressions of our journalism,” said Bruce Headlam, managing editor of video for the Times. “From breaking news to creating in-depth features, Times journalists are using the medium to amplify our news report and bring rich, visual storytelling to new audiences.”

Meanwhile, a study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau points out that investors are more likely to boost their digital-video budgets over the next 12 months, shifting away from traditional television – and this is following an effective 80 percent of marketers and agency execs who attended last year’s NewFronts and came away impressed enough to invest in at least one project.

Variety reports that, according to the IAB’s numbers, U.S. digital video advertising totaled a whopping $3.3 billion last year, up 17 percent from the $2.8 billion the year before. eMarketer added its own numbers, stating that the market was worth $5.8 billion overall last year, and expected to grow to $7.8 billion this year.

About 68 percent of the marketers and executives polled by the IAB believe that their digital-video ad budgets will increase over the next year. “This study demonstrates unequivocally that digital video is a fierce competitor for advertising dollars,” said Sherrill Mane, IAB’s senior vice president of research, analytics and measurement. Thus, the NewFronts are a pretty big deal for all involved, investors and companies alike.

Want further proof The survey indicates that last year’s NewFronts presentations were “directly responsible” for driving 36 percent of buy-side attendees’ spend on original digital video advertising over the past year. That’s an increase of 24 percent from the previous year’s NewFronts events.

In addition, 67 percent of marketers and agency execs believe that original digital video will become as vital as original TV programming over the next three to five years. It’s already proven to be a big draw, with House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black driving more and more people to Netflix, and so on.

Still, there are some that are taking NewFronts in stride and having fun with the format. Some have pitched their shows in a playful manner, without being super-serious on the numbers – for instance, video talent Taryn Southern, with her humorous pitch for her new project The Taryn Show. And Defy Media recently collaborated with Screen Junkies on an Honest Newfront Trailer that pokes fun at the event in general, while slyly inviting attendees to come out to a Defy media party on May 4. You can see the trailer below.


Kendall Jenner Pushes Estee Lauder’s Instagram To New Heights

It’s not only celebrities that are making an impact with a large number of Instagram followers — models have a huge presence as well, and their tie-ins with popular companies could lead to a huge following all around.

In a piece by Scott Galloway, Clinical Professor of Marketing at NYU, the team-up between Estee Lauder and recently signed ambassador (and now famous model) Kendall Jenner has resulted in a huge spike of followers on Instagram. The Kardashian sibling signed on with the company back in November, and in the time doing so, Instagram following spiked by 18 percent. That’s just the beginning of the successful partnership, though, as the numbers grew even more from there.

With the posting of a video on the Instagram account in January, Jenner’s Instagram account saw 56 times the interactions of a similar post on the Estee Lauder account, with over 444,000 likes in all. Jenner’s tie-in with the company certainly did it a lot of favors, providing it with a healthy dose of its own followers.

The chart above shows just what kind of spike was delivered with Jenner’s signing, as the number rose practically overnight, within a 24-hour period.

Jenner also provided a boost to Dolce & Gabanna upon walking on their walkway at the New York Fashion Week event back in September, with a number of new Instagram followers joining their account with her participation. Jenner continued to make waves by posting a picture of herself on a giant Calvin Klein billboard in Soho shortly thereafter, to the tune of 1.1 million likes. That’s nearly the same amount that Calvin Klein has overall in terms of Instagram fans, at 1.3 million.

And Jenner isn’t the only one benefitting from Instagram. Other models are also taking part, posting pictures and other content on the social media channel that shows what’s happening behind-the-scenes. Burberry, for example, has gotten a huge boost from Cara Delevingne’s fan base, which has over 11 million fans. Meanwhile, young model Gigi Hadid, who signed with both Maybelline and Victoria’s Secret Pink, has a count of 2.9 million fans on Instagram, many of which could easily cross over to those companies with the right promotion.

As seen by the chart above, Instagram follower numbers can run wild depending on the promotion — and which models are involved. As a result, both the model and companies can benefit from the spike, seeing new fans jump on board both accounts.

More details on how brands can help an ambassadorship program can be found in L2’s Instagram Intelligence report, which can be downloaded here.

Android Finally Tops iOS In Revenue

Apple has dominated mobile revenue the last few years, taking as much as 90 percent of the profits for all mobile hardware, and leading strongly in app revenue as well. While Android hardware sales have surpassed Apple’s hardware, profits have not come close — and revenue from apps has stayed below iOS revenue despite the lead in hardware. Many analysts wondered when Android apps would finally catch up to iOS — but, in fact, Android apps have finally surpassed iOS apps in total revenue.

Business Insider has reported that, according to data provided by Digi-Capital, Android app revenue has actually overtaken iOS app revenue.

Android has been dominant in terms of overall downloads, mainly due to its larger install base (including over one billion Android smartphones shipped last year (versus Apple’s 192.7 million iPhones). However, for the longest time, Apple’s iOS has made more money than Android despite a far smaller number of devices on the market. That is, until now, when Digi-Capital’s research shows that Android has finally taken over the lead in app revenue.

Keep in mind, though, that these revenues aren’t just for the U.S. market, as Digi-Capital has also calculated in earnings from Chinese Android app stores — and with its widely popular offering of games, that’s a pretty huge cash flow. Separately, the two are smaller than iOS’ thriving revenue.

Regardless, Android’s dominance in the mobile field means good news for developers down the road, making Android just as reliable a platform to develop for as iOS.

The chart above breaks down just how much money is made in terms of global app stores revenue, and between iOS, Google Play and Android in China, nearly the entire circle is filled, with only a small amount for the “other” category.

This chart also shows the significance of the Chinese app market, and could push companies to produce their wares specifically for said market — which, as this article shows, is definitely a growing trend. That isn’t stopping Apple from picking up market share in China, though, with its new iPhones setting sales records two quarters running, and a new retail expansion that could lead to even bigger iPhone sales across the country.

And for those wondering about if a profit can be made from Android products, a report from DAU-UP suggests that it’s on the rise, with an average revenue per user that has picked up since 2014. With lower advertising costs, some developers are even capable of making more from Android apps than iOS ones — and that could mean a shift for some companies when it comes to development.

One thing’s for sure — the mobile market has never been hotter, and things will only get more interesting from here.

WB Games Says Mobile Market Wide Open

While there are no doubt hot games that are dominating the world of mobile right now, it’s a market that’s certainly open for potential – at least, that’s how Warner Bros.’ games division sees it.

In an interview with GamesIndustry International, Greg Ballard, senior vice president of mobile, social and emerging platforms for Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, discussed the potential of mobile, and how the company can easily grasp its own part of the mobile picture with a number of hit brands, including Mortal Kombat, Batman and Game of Thrones, among others.

“If you aren’t already a leader, it has become very expensive to acquire customers,” says Greg Ballard, senior vice president of mobile, social and emerging platforms at WBIE. “The brands that a company like ours has allow us to acquire customers at a reasonable price. People want to be associated with our brands. They want to be Batman. It allows us to enter into the marketplace with slightly different economics to those that others have. Whether that leads to the number one or the number two slot, to some extent in this business it doesn’t matter.”

That said, there’s certainly room for success, even if a mobile brand isn’t exactly dominant. “You can make a lot of money at number 20, and, by the way, two years ago that wasn’t the case,” Ballard continued. “Two years ago we were much more concerned about the rigidity at the top of the charts. There just wasn’t that much money being made at numbers 10 through 20. Today, there’s money to be made even as a top 50 title. It’s a very robust market. It’s no longer winner take all. It’s winner take a lot, but not all.”

WB intends to pitch a number of its products towards different audience types, even those that thrive on free-to-play efforts like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga. The target audience, according to Ballard, is “mid-core to core,” similar to the company’s console strategy with such upcoming releases as The Witcher III: Wild Hunt and Batman: Arkham Knight, both due for summer.

However, there are exceptions, like the company’s thriving Lego branded games. “That’s the exception,” said Ballard. “Nobody has really unlocked the secret box of how to monetize kids in a free-to-play environment. With that brand, and how carefully guarded it is – not just by Lego, but by Warner on behalf of Lego – we want to make sure that, if we ever go down that path, we are extremely careful in how we do it.

“So you take the two: free-to-play is difficult to do to begin with, but doing it with excellent standards regarding how to behave with kids, those are pretty big hurdles. We won’t make as much money on Lego titles as we do on free-to-play titles, but we do just fine. In the meantime, we continue to build that brand in a way that serves Legos interests and our own interests.”

All other mobile games, however, are aimed at older gamers with the possibility of long-term play in mind – even though “aggressive” monetization isn’t part of the picture. “If you took a snapshot, say, three or four years ago, some of the techniques in web-based games and eventually mobile were on the margin, probably not good. As a whole, I think the industry has really improved its behavior, and Apple and Google have encouraged that and made it easier for that to happen. In any environment where you have a lot of people competing for dollars, you’re always going to get some who don’t behave well. But you have to look at the behavior of 90 per cent of the market, and not that 10 percent,” said Ballard.

“In part, that progress has been a function of the marketplace, and not the fear of legislation. It’s because consumers can speak back, can refuse to buy, can organize themselves. Employing extreme [monetization] methods is counter-productive. The consumer is getting more and more sophisticated, and I think that ends up solving the problem far better than anything from outside.”

A lot of the strength in WB’s mobile games division will also come from effective marketing, as it previously displayed with Mortal Kombat X. “We’re very good at that. We do it as well as anybody in the entertainment business,” says Ballard. “It’s been going on for years in the console games business, but in a sense it’s still unique in mobile.

“You’ll see us doing traditional advertising. You’ll see us tagging on console commercials that the mobile game is out there as well. And you’ll see us generally using one of the world-class console marketing teams to bring awareness to mobile in a way that hasn’t been done before.”

The IAB’s Anna Bager Talks The Biggest NewFronts Yet

by VideoInk Staff

The Digital Content NewFronts this year will consist of more presenters than ever before. Over 30 online networks will reveal their upcoming programming slates, allowing for an unpresented amount of deal-making to take place.Offering some perspective as this action-packed week begins, Anna Bager, the SVP of mobile and video and the general manager of both IAB Digital Video and Mobile Marketing Centers of Excellence, told us her take on the 2015 NewFronts. How is it offering unique opportunities from the TV Upfronts as it attracts more buyers Read Bager’s take below.

With more presenters at NewFronts than ever before, what, in your opinion, is driving this type of interest in the events?

The IAB just came out with a study that shows strong numbers in connected TV ownership and usage, clearly demonstrating that streaming digital video to television screens is mainstream behavior–and its gaining in popularity. Turning traditional TV time into streaming time is becoming the new norm. As a result, there is no question that a marketplace like the NewFronts is an imperative. Unprecedented interest in the NewFronts–from both prospective presenters and from the buy-side–reflects this important consumer shift.

Which new presenter are you most excited to see on stage, and why?

It’s impossible to choose a favorite, and we are ready to be surprised and delighted each and every day of the presentations. But I’d have to say I am excited to see all of the new entrants to the event. We are sure that they will have some great content and advertising offerings to share, and they are ready to put on some great shows –from modest and exclusive meetings to really fun, immersive events. We are especially pleased that these new presenters are known for exploring a range of topics that speak to a variety of different audiences.

Read more…

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via thevideoink.com for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Video Ad Views Picking Up On Mobile

More and more consumers are using mobile devices for a number of things, such as posting on social networks, watching videos or catching up on some other form of web content. Today, FreeWheel posted statistics from its Q1 2015 report showing that it’s big in a couple of other areas as well — namely video ad views and completion rates.

AdWeek reports that both of these areas are growing immensely in mobile, as well as through “over-the-top” devices like connected televisions. FreeWheel’s monetization report indicates that they’re at 92 percent in terms of growth, with longform content exceeding over 20 minutes across both devices.

While FreeWheel hasn’t posted the latest demographic for this report, the previous period’s can be found below, and already shows tremendous growth leading into 2015’s numbers, including video ad views be device (in which desktop/laptop has a commanding lead with 67 percent), ad view growth by content duration (in which live content shows a 140 percent increase) and ad view share by content genre (with reality/documentary showing a 23 percent lead, followed by scripted drama at 18 percent and music/trailer at 17 percent).

While the rise in overall digital video ad spending is notable for this year (showing a 33.8 percent increase for 2015 alone), some are still showing concerns that too many ads are going unnoticed, which could be a problem when it comes to overall buying and selling.

eMarketer reports that a November 2014 report from Integral Ad Science, polling both U.S. digital media buyers and sellers, indicates that both aren’t too fond of the Media Rating Council’s viewability standards, although suppliers found them to be adequate at best.

“Every publisher is like, ‘Oh, that’s absolutely fine,’ and every buyer is like, ‘No, it’s not,'” said Ari Brandt, CEO and co-founder of digital ad platform MediaBrix. “I don’t think that chart is going to change any time soon. I’m surprise it’s not 100 percent for the suppliers who say that they’re fine with the standards.”

Viewability rates for 15 and 30 second video ads managed to stay around 51 percent, based on a two-second in-view rate, according to numbers from Moat. This indicates that 50 percent of video ads were viewable overall, leaving a staggering amount unseen.

Innovid also shared its own report, indicating that interactive pre-rolls on broadcast sites show high viewability, with 77 percent overall worldwide, compared to 49 percent through AOL and Yahoo, and 38 percent with other platforms.

So while video ad views are a big hit, there’s more work that can be done when it comes to certain ones that have yet to be seen. Perhaps we’ll see a solution in the months ahead, especially as FreeWheel’s latest statistics emerge.

ESPN Makes Big eSports Impact With ‘Heroes’

eSports could very well have a future in television, as proven last night when ESPN 2 aired the Heroes of the Dorm tournament, an event that got a lot of attention not only from viewers, but also those on social channels.

The tournament, hosted by Blizzard Entertainment, aired on a similar channel that showed the likes of baseball and other activities, indicating that eSports could be here to stay with television broadcasts, according to SBNation.

Viewership of eSports based events have gotten bigger over the years, mainly due to specialized online channels like Twitch.tv airing them for all the world to see. However, they haven’t dabbled too much in television until now, and last night’s broadcast was a clear indication that ESPN wasn’t afraid to try something new with it – despite some skepticism that eSports were “not a sport”, expressed by ESPN president John Skipper.

The tournament, which revolved around Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm, did well on social channels as well, with both positive and negative comments surrounding the event. Michelle Beadle, sports reporter for ESPN, led the charge with a number of memorable quotes, including “I took the bait. Just turned on ESPN 2. As someone whose face appears daily on the channel, I don’t have answers. #LeeroyJenkins #chicken.” And “I’m loving the cautious approach by both teams. A lot of twirling and shooting and stuff. The mines could prove disastrous.” (A number of her comments have led to hundreds of retweets and favorites.)

Does this mean the channel will begin airing eSports on a regular basis That has yet to be seen, but last night’s numbers indicate that there is a place for such competition on at least one of the ESPN channels, even if Skipper’s feelings about the medium haven’t entirely changed. One look at Twitch’s ongoing viewership numbers (over 100 million monthly and counting) easily shows that there’s a growing trend – and it’s just getting stronger.

And with a number of tournaments coming this year – including events surrounding Valve’s DOTA 2 and Riot Games’ League of Legends, with millions of dollars at stake – the broadcaster may take a chance sooner rather than later.

Teens Drop 20% Of Their Money On Entertainment

There’s no question that teens like spending money, whether it’s from an allotted allowance or employment with one of their first jobs. But the real question is where they like to spend it — and Piper Jaffray has just found the answer.

An April 2015 research report compiled by the company indicates that food and clothing are the biggest factors in teen spending, although entertainment takes up a pretty healthy chunk as well, according to eMarketer.

Food factors in as the highest spenditure with 21 percent, while clothing is close behind with 20 percent and accessories/personal care are in third with nine percent. However, the rest of the chart shows a good amount of money going towards transportation and entertainment. These include automotive with eight percent, electronics with eight percent, video games with seven percent, music and movies at six percent, and events at five percent. Meanwhile, bottoming out the list is books/magazines at two percent, followed by furniture, also at two percent.

Clothing was in the top spot for some time, since spring 2011, but with the rise in popularity with organic food, it’s assuredly taking the lead. And the report shows that 40 percent of those polled were eating more of it than in previous years.

Clothing overall still plays the biggest part when combined with accessories/personal care and shoes (at nine percent), with a share of four in ten.

As for where teens enjoy shopping, physical stores are still a big draw, but some feel that online shopping has become the way to go — especially from the male perspective. 61 percent of respondents feel that physical stores are still the best option, although online shopping still takes up a pretty solid chunk of that demographic, with a growth to 57.2 percent of US consumers ages 14-17 — approximately 9.6 million people — for this year one. By 2019, Piper Jaffray indicates that the number will grow even bigger, to 61.5 percent.

The kids, they keep on shopping’…

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